CILACAP, Indonesia (2nd UPDATE) – Unless the last-minute legal efforts to save her work, or by some miracle clemency is granted, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso could be executed on Tuesday, April 28, along with 8 other convicts on death row.
Her sister, Marites, told Rappler she received a call after 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, from Mary Jane telling her the news.
The 30-year-old Filipina on death row in Indonesia said she had been informed of her execution date on Saturday afternoon, just hours after a reunion with her family, including her two sons. (READ: Mary Jane to eldest son: ‘Be proud of your mother’)
Philippine embassy officials who were at Nusakambangan prison with Mary Jane when she was informed confirmed the news after they left the island some two hours later.
Mary Jane has maintained her innocence and insists she was framed and duped into unknowingly acting as a drug mule. She had pleaded to Indonesian President Joko Widodo for her life for the sake of her two children.
Prosecutors gave Veloso’s family the official notice to execute early on Saturday morning, during a meeting with prosecutors, but no date was given.
“Today, just now, we just finished notifying every convict, 9 people except for Serge,” a spokesman for the attorney-general’s office, Tony Spontana, told AFP late on Saturday, adding it would be at least 3 days until the sentences are carried out.
He was referring to Frenchman Serge Atlaoui, who was expected to be among the group being put to death, will not be included in the forthcoming batch as he still has an outstanding legal appeal.
Veloso has requested that her entire family be allowed to stay overnight at the prison with her, according to embassy officials. She said she also wanted her family to be on the island at the time of her execution, so they would be ready to take her body.
In addition, she wanted her body be taken back home to the Philippines by her family.
Over the next 3 days, she will be given ample time to spend with her family. Her brother, Christopher, and ex-husband, Michael Candelaria, arrived in Cilacap on Saturday evening. On Sunday and Monday, they will be able to visit from 9 am-6 pm. On Tuesday, visiting hours will end at 2 pm.
“Ang tapang ng anak ko. Sabi nya tanggap ko na. Gumaang ang loob ko kasi nakita ko na okay siya,” Celia, her mother, said of the visit. (My daughter is so strong. She said she has accepted her fate. I feel a bit better because I saw that she’s doing okay.)
Previously, Celia appealed to Widodo to first know the truth, insisting that her daughter is innocent.
Referring to Mary Jane, Celia said, “Sabi niya, ‘Baka ito na plano ng Panginoon sa ‘kin. Kung pagbibigyan niya ko na mabuhay pa, gagamitin ko para sa pagsisilbi’.” (She said, ‘Maybe this is God’s plan for me. But if I’m given the chance to continue living, I will use my life to serve.)
Edre Olalia, from the National Union of People’s Lawyers, who’s representing the Veloso family, said they maintain there’s still hope while Mary Jane is still alive.
In a move to save her, Veloso’s lawyers filed a second appeal on Friday, April 24, asking Indonesia to review her case.
The lawyers said the request for review included evidence about Maria Kristina Sergio, the alleged illegal recruiter and drug trafficker who supposedly tricked Mary Jane Veloso.
They were able to include in their appeal a memo from the Indonesian National Commission on Violence Against Women which certifies that Veloso is a victim of human trafficking.
“There is an Indonesian law on trafficking that mandates the government protect victims rather than punish them,” said Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), after meeting with Veloso’s Indonesian lawyers on Wednesday, April 22. – Rappler.com